What a start for this month! While doing my "pre-flight' check on the motorhome the day before leaving for DC I discovered one of my inside duallys was flat. On closer inspection it was not repairable. Most tire dealers do not carry RV tires especially 22.5". RV tires have a different composition than truck tires. It has to do with the fact that truck tires are almost constantly on the road and RV tires do a lot of sitting. We had considered replacing them while we were in Harrisburg but didn't do it. 6 tires would have put a big dent in our budget. Now I guess it will for sure. No sense replacing just one especially with the duallys. We like to deal with people we know & trust if we can and that would be Roger Craig at Raben Tire in Harrisburg (2 hours away). We gave him a call and he started looking for 6 tires. By the next day (the day we were going to head for DC) he had located the tires and he had a man going to the coal mines near Taylorville, Il on thur that could stop and replace the flat tire and then when we returned from DC we would drive down to Harrisburg and get the other 5 mounted. Thur was also our new 'leaving for DC day'.  We had our hotel reservations starting fri thru the tue. We stay in a hotel for the Veteran's Day Ia Drang activities. They usually have a hospitality suite and our banquet is in the hotel. A lot easier to wander down to the hospitality suite at different times of the day and see who has shown up. Nearest place to park the RV (my sister's house & they watch the dog) is at least a 40 min drive away.

Kay's dad volunteered to watch the dog and we decided to drive the truck to DC. Thur am, early, we had everything packed and ready to bring the dog in to town and drop him off. Got to the corner and the Raben Tire truck turned the corner. So we went back and it was a good thing. His jack was too tall to fit under the MH frame so I had to use my levelers to raise the tire off the ground high enough for him to place the jack under the frame. Didn't need the jack to lift it just for safety reasons. Then he didn't have the right size socket for the lugs. They are a different size than truck tire lugs that have the same size tire. Who would have guessed that? We were able to borrow a socket from a nearby trucking co. I am going to buy the correct impact socket and carry it in the MH for possible future problems. Two hours later we dropped the dog off and were on the road again. Put a book on tape in and listened all the way there. The book is: "Heart of a Soldier", Fascinating book about Rick Rescorla, a hero in Ia Drang and WTC. Just learned that this book was picked as the #1 non-fiction book for 2002 by TIME magazine. We stopped for the night near the Pa border. That evening we got a call that Kay's dad was taken to the hosp by ambulance. A later call said that he was doing Ok and would probably go home that evening. Then they decided to hold him overnight for some tests. As long as he was doing OK we went on to DC the next day (fri). John & Linda said they would go in to Jerry's apt and walk the dog. Arrived in DC, checked in to the hotel and settled in. More phone calls and now they were going to hold him until sat for more tests. Jerry was OK and the dog was being taken care of. It was great to see my fellow Ia Drang vets again. This is something I look forward to every year. Our nephew and his wife (Jared & Julia) were our guests this year. We introduced them around to my friends including Gen. Moore & Joe Galloway--the co-authors of the book. We had a 2/7th dinner that evening then on to the hospitality suite for some more brewskies. Next morn (sat) we got a call  and now they are going to hold Jerry over til mon for more tests. Since nothing was critical we decided to stay for the Ia Drang banquet on sat pm. and would leave early sun morn for the trip back to Illinois instead of staying til tue.

That evening we had the banquet which is always special. It is stirring to watch the 1st Cav Color Guard march in with the flag and post it. They are some sharp troopers. Also we had a performance by Clann an Drumma who did the song "Sgt. McKenzie" from the movie. After the banquet we went to the hosp suite and later that evening Clann an Drumma put on a performance for us. WOW!!! It is easy to see how the clans in Scotland got stirred up for battle. This is some powerful music! Everybody in the room was jumping and blood was pumping. This group has lots of energy. They play at a lot of highland games and I had been wanting to see them perform. I still might go to one of their performances.

Sun morn we had breakfast with Jared & Julia, said our goodbyes to them and any other vets we saw and hit the road. Another book on tape: "We Were Soldiers Once...And Young", I have never been able to read the whole book and was hoping I could get thru the tape. I made it thru the tape but some places were very tough. But I'm glad I finally read/listened to the whole book. 12 hours later we were in Effingham. Jerry was finally released from the hosp on wed. As of this writing we don't have the results yet. That will be on mon, then we will decide when we will leave to points south.

Back again. Jerry’s tests were Ok meaning no additional damage. He still has only 20% heart function.

After a few days back we headed to Harrisburg for the tires. Pulled in, everything was ready and they started working. We decided to replace the truck tires also as long as we were there. There was still enough tread left that they could be used by someone. Roger had done some checking on the MH tires and found that Michelin was starting to have problems with the ones we had. He was able to get an adjustment from Michelin. When all was said and done, price figured out to be less than I thought the MH tires alone would be. We definitely were treated right!

Then we headed to Eldorado, Il (about 6 miles away) to a motel that had a sign---RV hookups. They had 30AMP, water & sewer. At that time of year we could get by with 30AMP. The convenience to Harrisburg was great. After we set up Kay thought she should try out the new truck tires. So she headed to Metropolis, Il to—guess where--the riverboat casino. When she returned she had won enough money to pay for the tires. WOW! Such a deal!

We visited with friends and went to the Elks lodge while we were there and finally we had to leave to SC for some more visits and the Freightliner factory for our annual service on the MH. . Sorta on the way was another Harrah’s casino in Cherokee, NC. I knew we would never get by that area without stopping. The route there was beautiful. Went by Dollywood & thru Gatlinburg then over the mountain to Cherokee. When we got there in the RV area (no hookups) a security guard came over and said we could park there but no overnight. Kay had called ahead and they said OK so she went to the office. When she came back we had the OK for overnight and she had a room (comped) so we could shower. I guess there are fringe benefits to her hitting the casinos. The reason they stopped overnight stays was they caught 2 Rvers traveling together dumping their holding tanks into the river that backs up to the parking. This is a beautiful river in a beautiful area. There are always a few that ruin it for the majority. I feel that rules are made to cover a few people with no common sense, but affect the majority.

Kay didn’t have much luck at this casino and we wanted to leave early the next AM because there was a storm coming in. First rain then changing to snow. When we awoke it was raining. Kay headed to the hotel to take a shower and by the time she returned it was spitting snow. We hit the road. Took state highways til we reached the interstate near Asheville, NC. All the while the snow kept getting heavier. The roads were being kept clean by the state crews but you could tell it was reaching a point where they would not be able to keep up. On the road between Spartanburg & Gaffney, SC (location of the factory) we saw a car across the interstate spinning down the highway. In the mirror I could see that he slid to the shoulder and looked to be OK. We only had about 10 miles to go so we pushed on. When we arrived in Gaffney we had ice forming on the MH & truck. They had electric available so we hooked it up and settled in for the night. No sense going anywhere in this weather. Next morning there was ice everywhere. It was starting to thaw but it was thick and would take awhile. After we finally cleared the truck & MH of ice we went to the factory. Service was done by early afternoon and we could make Rock Hill, SC where we planned to stay at Ebenezer Park campground. We stay here everytime we visit my daughter and really like the place. On the trip there the roads were clear of ice but some places had yet to be cleared of broken trees and fallen limbs. Traffic lights were out due to no power. When we got to Ebenezer they had power. The park was filling up with local RVers whose power had not yet been restored. This went on for the next few days. We spent time with Robin & Sherry, and took a day trip to visit Ben, PJ & Josie. One evening Sherry’s mother Linda was in the area for business and we all went to dinner. Then on to Savannah for our annual Xmas visit. The next few weeks (thru New Years Day) were spent visiting & partying. Lots of fun. We always have a good time while we are here.

Mon 1/7/03 we will head to Lake City, Fl. To have a catalytic heater installed.

Catch ya on the next update.